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May 12, 2009

Lake Michigan Icebergs?


Are there really icebergs in Lake Michigan — stripped, or otherwise?  I lived there for thirty years and I never saw one.  Thx.  Lorna Norbeck, San Jose, CA

Hi Lorna, 

The pictures you see below are definitely blocks of ice.  Technically, however, they are not icebergs.  Icebergs are much larger, both over and under the waterline.  Think Titanic.  Icebergs are large chunks of ice that break away from ice shelves or glaciers. 

These Great Lakes' ice sheets form in thin, windblown layers of churning water and sand. What looks like beach sand may not be thick enough to bear weight, suddenly plunging the walker into freezing water below.  Since these ice sheets originate along the shoreline, they are quite shallow and a threat to only small boats.  

During warmer periods of winter they can break free and float into the lakes.  Back in March, an ice sheet 4 miles long and nearly 1 mile wide broke free from the Wisconsin shore. 

Appreciate the question.

Take care,


Lake Michigan ice 5  L

Lake Michigan ice 4 Lake Michigan ice


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